Thursday, April 25, 2013

City of Bones: one book is enough for me

City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
We bought this book about four years ago.
Haki started it, and then gave up after a few chapters.
Then I started it and tapped out early.
But because my sister-in-law and favourite librarian had agreed the series was super, and what with the movie adaptation release date creeping closer 'n' all, I felt it was second chance time.
Surely I had been wrong.
  • I have only read Book 1 (City of Bones).  I won't be reading the rest of the series. 
  • I never looked forward to reading while I was in this book. 
  • There is no doubt that reading this after a very strong urban fantasy offering paid The Mortal Instruments franchise a disservice. I'd given the series a hard act to follow.  If I'd read this book when I purchased it, maybe I wouldn't be so disappointed.  (Maybe if you read it first, and don't know what you're missing, you'll love it.)
  • The pacing didn't work for me.  When I wanted information (What is a stele, and how does it work?), none was given.  When I was beginning to get caught up in a scene's action, then I felt like sudden footnote-like definitions of the world and its parts interrupted the action's flow.  This contributed to it feeling long and arduous, overall.
  • Although I appreciate the fantasy genre often shares much of its elements around, nothing about Clare's interpretation felt fresh.
  • The dialogue felt painful.  It seemed to be employed to tell me how to feel about characters (outrightly stating how characters should be seen), as opposed to showing me what these characters are like so I could react and form opinions on my own.  It felt predictable, immature and sarcastic. 
  • The story is obvious too.  When something I knew was going to happen happened, instead of feeling gratified (I'm not saying all good plot developments are unforeseeable, quite the contrary), I was consistently disappointed it wasn't better.
  • When the opportunities arise, Clare poo-poos on organised religion.  I appreciate it when fantasy authors allow their realms to co-exist without criticism of our existing world.  Laini, Tolkien, Lewis, Canavan, and Briggs manage just fine.
  • I am told to find the villains manipulative and terrifying, explicitly.  That is apparently what they are.  And when I come face to face with them, I don't believe what I've been told.  
  • Which brings me to the other characters.  The only one I cared for much was an extra in the piece (Magnus). The chief love interest is a ham.  I'm sure he's meant to be funny and brooding, but instead I found him rude and unlikeable.
  • Finally, the heroine.  Dislike.  Mucho.  Ol' Bella annoyed the heck out of me, but I was still entertained by the Meyer-easy-reads.  I wasn't entertained here.  If Clary was clipart, she might look like this:
(and she would let the guy she's crushing on insult her best friend without her expression changing)

If you disagree -- good for you -- as there are plenty more books for you to read!  Wahoo!
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